– New York is planning to build an observation platform over Ground Zero (NY Post story). Something isn’t right about this. I thought about going back to the site yesterday — an act of Thanksgiving reflection — but decided not to; there is really nothing to see but destruction and the one time I did go near there the parades of camera-toting tourists jangled me. I’m not belittling them; I know why they want to go. I know why Rudy wants to bring order to the scene with the observation platform. But still, there’s a sense of invasion of privacy about this. At the same time, the WTC leaseholder, Larry Silverstein, suggests building a river memorial near the WTC with the fill from the rubble and I think that’s an inspired idea. It will take time to decide what is right; we cannot rush this into memory.
– Another story from Britain says that “sorrow haunts gatherings for Thanksgiving.” Still, they miss the point. Yes, there is sorrow and fear and anger this year. Our newspapers are still filled with the stories of families robbed of loved ones. My nightmare last night: corralling my family to safety when a nuke hits New York. Yes, there’s sorrow, of course, there is. But that makes Thanksgiving all the more meaningful this year. As I’ve said since Sept. 11, I know precisely how lucky I am and how thankful I need to be. And we as a country know how thankful we are, how privileged and fortunate; that is why we have Thanksgiving every year and why we will celebrate it especially this year.
– Having said that, I’m going to spend the day with my family today and not blog; I’ll forego the addiction. I do this robbing a few minutes every morning and evening at the kitchen counter. Now it’s time to peel potatoes there instead.
– OK, just one more. A fine column from the Times of London on Blair’s optimism coming to pass. In an eloquent speech after Sept. 11, Blair said: ìThe memorial [to the victims of the terrorist attacks] can and should be greater than simply the punishment of the guilty. Out of the shadow of this evil, should emerge lasting good: destruction of the machinery of terrorism wherever it is found; hope amongst all nations of a new beginning where we seek to resolve differences in a calm and ordered way; greater understanding between nations and between faiths; and above all justice and prosperity for the poor and dispossessed, so that people everywhere can see the chance of a better future through the hard work and creative power of the free citizen, not the violence and savagery of the fanatic.î Anatole Kaletsky then catalogues the ways in which we can actually see the way to Blair’s vision coming true: New means of cooperation to fight poverty; new paths to peace in the Middle East; new alliances among the superpowers; and, finally, the chance that we all can defeat not only Osama bin Laden — to the relief of the Muslim world — but also terrorism. Perhaps next year, all the world should celebrate Thanksgiving.
– And if you still don’t get Thankskgiving, here’s the Guardian’s web guide to our quaint tradition.
– A Brit exec sues his company for not letting him leave traumatizing New York and return to Britain.
– Just like the Nazis, bin Laden leaves a paper trail: quotations of chairman Osama, club notes for extremists, primers on nukes found in abandoned HQ.
– The bin Ladens try to hire a London PR heavyweight “in a bid to distance itself from the errant terrorist.”
– The Taliban destroyed art and antiquities, says the LA Times: “There was something sadistic about the way two Taliban government ministers and their shock troops destroyed many of Afghanistan’s precious works of art. They did it with smiles on their faces. They walked through the National Museum here in the capital last year, inspecting each object to determine which ones depicted living beings. And then they raised their axes and brought them down hard, smashing piece after piece of Afghan history into oblivion.”
– Typically American gloating (allowed on Thanksgiving): The Guardian got a record 50 million page views last month. Is that all?